Ballyclare men in fine voice for annual concert

Members of Ballyclare male choir with accompanist, Sheelagh Greer at their Annual Concert. INNT 20-205-AM
Members of Ballyclare male choir with accompanist, Sheelagh Greer at their Annual Concert. INNT 20-205-AM

The ever popular Ballyclare Male Choir will be performing their 83rd Anniversary Concert at Theatre at the Mill in Newtonwabbey on Saturday May 6 and they are hoping local people will go along to support them on the night.

Since their last appearance at The Mill they have produced a new CD entitled A Journey in Song. They will be performing some of the pieces included on the CD along with some songs new to the Choir as well as a few old favourites.

The roots of Ballyclare Male Choir were first set in 1920 with the formation of a male choir, mainly from men returning from the Great War. Often referred to as the Legion or Old Comrades Choir, its first conductor Joseph Howieson was a Scot and an ex-service man.

In the early 1930’s a Belfast insurance man, Albert McClenaghan, was appointed as Precentor in 2nd Ballyeaston Presbyterian Church and he had a burning ambition to re-form the male choir. One of his church choir members, W J Stewart OBE was the instigator and organiser of what was then to be called Ballyclare and District Male Voice Choir. With Albert as its first conductor and William J as chairman, the initial twenty four choristers came together in September 1933.

His successor in the early 60’s was Adam Donaghy and he had the promise of continuing the same high standards set by his predecessor. Sadly though, this was not to be. After two excellent years Adam died quite suddenly and the choir was once again looking for another conductor. As that door closed, another opened and this heralded the Thompson era. William I Thompson MBE, otherwise known as Billy and a disciple of Adam Donaghy, was destined to lead what is now known as Ballyclare Male Choir for the next thirty three years. Brian Agus succeeded Billy Thompson and conducted the choir for the next nine years until 2007, and Phyllis Boyd became conductor in September 2007.

The choir will be joined at Theatre at the Mill by their special guests Connor Taggart and the Phatz Katz.

The concert begins at 7.45pm and tickets, priced £15, are on sale now from the Theatre at the Mill Box Office on 028 9034 0202. Alternatively for further information or to book tickets online, log onto www.theatreatthemill.com.